Zara’s opening shadows Burberry

Zara's name up in lights.

Indeed it is true. The anticipation of the Spanish retail giant’s opening, shadowed Burberry’s flagship store launch last week. Almost a decade ago you just couldn’t write about it. A mid-market player pulling focus from a luxury brand that’s been established for over 150 years and highly respected throughout the world, lost in translation as the hungry consumers rush to the tailored, chic and on-trend Zara.

As MSP followed the movement around town, the intrigue was watching Australian Retailers try and think their way around the damage that Zara was about to do to the P & L sheet. The outcome…hesitantly embarrassing.

Patience is a virtue

Let’s start at 8.30am. A line of 100 people are already snaking around security poles as a small group stand in front of a retailer 4 doors down. The leading youth market retailer’s window display is a series of three massive key holes, and what do we see here?…scantily dressed females the age of 19 texting on their smart phones within those key holes. The words, ‘Sex Sells’ above their heads. Take your mind back to the day when sensually lit lounge bars had telephones on every table while you sipped on a martini. Look across the room, see a gorgeous brunette gazing in your direction. Pick up your telephone and call her number. Replace this with a smart phone and a dashing young woman and you have the controversy of the human merchandise  – but did it get the attention it wanted? No.

Does it?

With red tape totally cut allowing international mid-market players to seize part of the monopoly board, all eyes were focussed on the savvy, chic and price competitive Zara. Australia has been waiting for years for Inditex’s little baby to step onto southern soil and what a footprint it has made.

No doubt, on your international travels you’ve met Zara. Opening in Spain in 1975, the little lamb turned into a raging bull as it rolled out its aggressive store plan throughout the map and became a fashion house to be reckoned with. Zara has an incredible business plan which is carbon copied all over the globe. It needs just two weeks to develop a new product and get it to stores comparing to the usual 6 months an average industry competitor would need. Zara launches an astonishing 10,000 designs each year. And believe it or not, has an unusual strategy of no advertising. It prefers to invest a percentage of revenues in opening new stores instead. Now don’t think just because we don’t see any advertising on Zara, that this retail giant hasn’t gone unnoticed. Louis Vuitton’s Fashion Director Daniel Piette described Zara as possibly the most innovative and devastating retailer in the world. And well, today…we believe it.

Fast forward to 12pm. You can’t move. You can’t even line up! Zara’s crowd control is at full capacity and MSP peeps are coming back to the office stating that they’d be in line for hours just to get a look see. Surprised? No.

Move to 6pm, there is still a queue and the floor stock is almost gone. Although replenished throughout the day, the patient Sydney-ites have scurried through the doors when security let them in and rushed to any rack that looks half full to dig for their size. Arms full of cloth and accessories, they patiently wait again at the counters to hand over their fantastic plastic. As you walk along the streets passing Zara you will come across open doors of other retailers, and…no customers. It was extraordinary.

With Zara’s arrival, we are seeing specific collections created for the Australian market adapted from global trends. In Zara, for everyday wardrobe staples with a friendly price tag head for their ‘Basic’ range. Gents, Zara ‘Man’ collections will make shopping for you guys a breeze. There are classic standards, high street, sporty and casual looks with a big selection of accessories for men. Look out for their numbered limited edition range made just for Sydney. Hint: there’s just twenty-six of the men’s navy suede overnight bag ($239) and one hundred croc-leather platform pumps ($199).

New stock arrives twice weekly (Tuesday and Friday’s) – just in case you can’t brave the opening day 200-deep crowd.

Just for Oz, a serial coded bag and shoe collection.